Faroe Islands is today issuing a set of stamps commemorating First World War centenary. It did not take long before the Faroes suffered the consequences of the Great War. Sea transport to and from mainland Europe, especially Denmark, stopped more or less. The belligerents set up blockades, patrolled the seas and went after ships that might carry supplies to hostile territory.This led to a shortage of the most basic necessities. Soon you could only buy bread and sugar on ration-cards – and things like tea and coffee became difficult and expensive to obtain. But times of need is the mother of ingenuity – and people came up with different ways to tough scarce supplies. There are, for example, stories of women who cooked roe and mixed it up in the rye flour, to make it last longer.
The early years of war caused such serious deficiencies, especially among the poorest segment of the population that we can talk about real crisis conditions. During the rough winter months it was hard to catch fish, and the coastal spring-fishery was in 1915 hampered by bad weather.
Deficiency Diseases occurred because of too little or too monotonous food and even harvested lives among the most disadvantaged, children and the elderly. The oil supplies were soon exhausted and it was not possible to bring more to the country. People started to experiment with fish oil, which turned out to be useful for lamps and even as fuel for boat engines.
While most Faroese experienced World War I from a distance, others were not so lucky. OneThen the young Faroese travelled from battle to battle. 16th Battalion participated in the battles of Hill 70, Ypres and Passchendaele.They participated in the campaigns around Amiens, the Second Battle of Arras, Scarpe and Drocourt-Queant Line in 1918. From there to the battles on the Hindenburg Line and Canal du Nord, right to the last advance toward Mons.